SIOUX CITY – On Memorial Day weekend, many people leave for vacation or go to parties. But Daryl Virgies, the recent running back signee for the Sioux City Bandits, was watching film.
Virgies didn’t watch much film until 2017, when he signed an NFL futures contract with the New York Giants.
“Basically, I was taught just to get the ball and to run,” said Virgies. “I didn’t know what the point of film was because we never watched film at the school I went to (NAIA Virginia-Lynchburg).”
Whether it’s due to film study or natural talent, the speedy Virgies has given a large boost to the Bandits’ running game. In two games, 40-plus point wins over the Kansas City Phantoms and the Omaha Beef, Virgies has rushed for 143 yards and five touchdowns on 16 carries (8.9 yards per carry). The Bandits have averaged 149 yards rushing since signing Virgies. Prior to that, Sioux City averaged just 71 yards rushing per contest.
Before playing with the Bandits in the Champions Indoor Football league, Virgies was with the Giants until being cut on May 13, 2017. He then was with the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League until being released three weeks ago.
An indoor scout got in contact with Bandits defensive coordinator Marlon Lobban. Lobban then contacted Virgies and asked if he wanted to play football.
“I said yes and we talked about everything, then I said it was a deal and I’m coming,” said Virgies. “I can’t sit around and wait. I can’t waste this talent. I’ve got to get film and I’m coming to play football.”
Virgies had always been interested in indoor football.
“The funny thing is I was always kind of trying to play indoor football, but I never had the chance,” said Virgies. “An NFL team signed me then a CFL team signed me.”
How does playing in the CIF differ from the NFL or the CFL?
“Trust me,” said Virgies. “It’s different. I had to learn 2,000 plays in three weeks for the New York Giants. They probably have one of the hardest playbooks in the NFL. That was very hard for me to even pick up. I picked it up within three weeks. The first week was trouble. There were a lot of things that I wasn’t taught or I didn’t know. I was going through the motions. Then it just clicked and I picked it up. I was working with some of the veteran players and they were helping me out.”
Those NFL vets showed him some tricks of the trade.
“Picking up the linebackers and reading the defense,” said Virgies. “I didn’t know how to run routes and how to set them up. I wasn’t taught that. I was just taught how to run. Now I’ve learned a lot”
Virgies said the CIF is a more compact game.
“There are fewer lineman and fewer players,” said Virgies. “It’s tighter. You can’t do too much side to side. If you go side to side here, you’re going to lose yards. You have to get what you can get and hit it. You’ve got to be a brawler.”
It also helps being able to run a 4.3 40-yard dash. Virgies had a pair of 38-yard touchdown runs against Kansas City.
“He’s probably the fastest guy on the field,” said Bandits Coach Erv Strohbeen after the win over Kansas City.
“If you give me a hole and nobody’s there, that’s it,” said Virgies. “I hit the gas and it’s a touchdown.”
Virgies is willing to help on special teams too.
"The big thing we saw was he bolstered our kickoff team too,” said Strohbeen. “He’s making plays down inside the 10-yard line and flying down the field.”
“On kickoff, whether you’re a running back or whatever, getting down there and flying to the ball you can show your speed,” said Virgies. “You show that you’re an athlete and make plays. I love running down there. I love running kickoff. I have no problem running full speed down there and messing things up and sending them the other way.”
The Bandits have two games left in the regular season, playing at Kansas City on Saturday then hosting Bismarck on June 9.
Plenty of time for Virgies to make an impact.